Love is…

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True story: I was working on writing this last night (Valentine’s Day) and Ms. Molly just would not go to sleep! My husband happened to be passing through the room just as I said, rather exasperatedly, “Please, Molly, stop climbing on Mama. I’m trying to type.” He looked at us and said “Yeah, Mama is too busy writing about how much she loves you to love you right now.” Um… ouch. So of course I turned off the computer and snuggled my sweet little girl. And now here I am tonight with a little boy on my left and a bigger boy on my right, completing yesterday’s Valentine post. I hope your day was full of love!

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day!

We were in a bit of a rush this morning because we had a co-op bowling party to go to. You know that socialization thing people are always harping about? Yeah, my kids have that down pat.

Katie Grace made the most delicious heart-shaped mints from cream cheese (not homemade, alas, although I intended to– that counts for something, right?), peppermint extract, powdered sugar we had hiding in the cupboard from our pre-whole foods days, and some crushed up leftover Christmas candy canes. We had some drama over the homemade valentines that didn’t get home made despite repeated offers from big sister to help, but all’s well that ends well and we got there only 20 minutes late.

Before we went, though, we had some yummy strawberry-banana smoothies topped with whipped cream and the kids unwrapped their surprise balls made with crepe papers. I was going for something like this, but the ended up being more of a crepe paper blob.

via Pinterest from Celebrate the Big and Small

Ah well. I’ve never pretended to be crafty.

The bowling party, which I was kind of dreading because toddler Twinkies + Nicholas + heavy balls + sugar = DANGEROUS!!!!! was not bad at all. Homeschool mamas are the best, and there were plenty of loving arms to hold the babies and big kids to chase them around when they needed to stretch their legs.

Afterwards we went thrift storing. If you keep up with my personal page on Facebook, you know I have developed a bit of a Pyrex obsession and I was hoping to score some. Alas, no vintage Pyrex dishes, although a did get a Pyrex Bake-a-Round for 99 cents. Score! We also got a new skeleton-building game and a pottery wheel, lots of books (of course!), some sight word cards, two new one-piece outfits for Matthew, and a very hungry caterpillar toy. Oh, and some awesome big mason jars. Happy day!

Between a hectic morning, a party, and an afternoon crammed in our Duggar van and popping in and out of thrift stores, we had lots of opportunities to practice being loving to one another. You see, I have always considered I Corinthians 13 to be our family verse, verses 4 through 8 in particular.  You know the one– it’s probably been read at every single Christian wedding you’ve ever intended. But just in case it slipped your mind, here it is:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

In the spirit of all Scripture being useful for teaching (I Timothy 3:16), I find that this little verse contains the heart of what I want to teach my children.

Are you grumbling because your sister is taking too long in the book section and you want to move on?
Love is patient.

Did you call your brother a name and put him down when he bowled a gutter ball?
Love is kind.

Are you upset because we found something for the babies at the thrift store and not for you?
Love does not envy.

Are you bragging at how much better your Valentines were?
Love does not boast.

Do you think you shouldn’t have to take a messy diaper to the pail because it’s a yucky job?
Love is not proud.

And so on. And lest it seem like we’re spending our days beating our children over the head with Scripture (although really, if one must have Scripture quoted at them, this is a lovely verse to choose) we find we can sum things up quite nicely by simply asking them “Were you being loving?” and they know the verse well enough to make a sound judgment.

It really is the heart of things– the heart of the family, the heart of friendships, the heart of the Gospel. God is love, and he who lives in love lives in God. For God so loved the world, He sent His only Son. And we are to love one another as we love ourselves because God first loved us.

How do you encourage your children to love one another?


  1. //

    Ahh, pyrex obsession. Yes, I have one of those too. :) I often find myself saying “Be kind” or “Be loving”, but my kids are so little. It would probably be better to quote the verses so that he learns what kid and loving mean!

    1. //

      We started with this when Michael was a baby and we really have seen it bear fruit.

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